"The Ligurian coastal region in the area of ??the Cinque Terre constitutes a heritage of high landscape and cultural value. The arrangement and conformation of the small towns and terraces on the hills that surround them, built overcoming the difficulties of steep and steep terrains, it clearly contains the history and culture of the settlements of this region over the course of a millennium "
Thus the Unesco report described the Cinque Terre in 1997, the year in which the five villages, together with Portovenere , the island Palmaria, the Tino and the Tinetto, were declared World Heritage . Between Punta Mesco and Punta Montenero, man has shaped the territory over the centuries, giving rise to the landscape that today we can all admire. A landscape made of history, culture and effort lavished by the inhabitants of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso to forge a hostile territory, which otherwise would have remained mostly arid, building thousands of kilometers of dry stone walls strong> along the steep hills. A monumental architecture overlooking the sea: 7000 linear km of dry-stone walls, without any cement binder, are planted with vines according to what is called a heroic viticulture.
6d, Volastra, Liguria, Italia[/caption]"Those were really hard times. The misery was appalling, in Manarola the only resource was the wine produced from mean soil that required hard work and superhuman sacrifices "Emigrating, looking for work outside was considered as a declaration of surrender. Therefore almost everyone remained clinging to their vineyards, proud of being owners, of working on their own." (Pietro Riccobaldi, Stranger undesirable). These few words are enough to give us an exhaustive portrait of what was everyday life in the Cinque Terre in past centuries, a life that speaks to us of a farming population rather than of sailors, whose stubbornness is all expressed in those dry-stone walls that appear here about a thousand years ago as an ingenious expedient to contain the land to be cultivated once terraced. Starting often where the waves beat, they rise up along the vertical slope, all hand-built with poor materials, earth and stones, delimiting thousands of small and tiny plots of land, called in dialect cia’n.
What were the fruits of all this effort? Apart from wines, which deserve a dedicated chapter, the Cinque Terre produce since the Middle Ages a DOP extra virgin olive oil (protected designation of origin), bitter and spicy to the right point; the aromatic herbs , which are born spontaneously and which are used to enhance the flavors of local cuisine; zucchini, beets, borage and wild "herbs". In the terraces along the lower slopes there are the lemons , another typical product of the Cinque Terre, praised by the poet Eugenio Montale, from which you can taste all its derivatives that enrich the local culinary tradition like the limoncino, cream, lemon jam and lemon cake.
If these are the premises, then to know the true nature of the Cinque Terre , the genuine character hidden from the eyes of the thousands of tourists who merely wander around the town, the the best way is to walk the Cinque Terre and the terraces. Paths, mule tracks and centuries-old staircases have marked the passing of time of the villages, representing for centuries the only ways of connection, slowing down the progress of progress, which is not necessarily negative. Suspended between earth and sky, between sea and mountains, the terraces are crossed by paths that cross the vineyards, alternated by strips cultivated with olive trees and, where man has given his hand to nature, from the Mediterranean scrub with its euphorbia bushes , brooms, white and pink cysts, agaves and helichrysum that make the Cinque Terre a colorful and fragrant land of nature and flavors of the past.
The train, surely the best means of travel to visit the Cinque Terre and be enchanted by the beauty of the Ligurian sea. From March 16th the 5 Terre Express train is in service to travel comfortably between La Spezia Centrale, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso and Levanto with a single single fare ticket, taking advantage of the offer of 100 trains a day, 7 days a week, every 15 minutes